Get On the Green Bus

The Green Bus

Scripps College jumped two letter grades on the 2011 Green Report Card for its campus sustainability practices — and is aiming even higher.

After Scripps received less-than-stellar marks for its efforts in 2010, President Lori Bettison-Varga established the President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability to “educate, challenge, and encourage students, faculty, and staff to advocate for the behavioral and social changes necessary to improve the environmental health of our community and our world.” Co-chaired by Lola Trafecanty, director of grounds, and Claire Bridge ’82, assistant to the president, the council reviewed existing practices, proposed a comprehensive green management plan, and promoted cost-effective initiatives throughout campus.

Sara Zuñiga ’12 compiled an information binder on everything from green building and energy consumption to transportation and waste — diverse campus areas to focus on in implementing sustainable practices. The committee also decided to utilize the STARs (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating system) offered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to assist colleges and universities in their sustainability efforts. Kasey Mitchell ’11, who works with environmental science professor Emil Morhardt, currently uses this self-tracking system to assess Scripps’ progress in its efforts to “go green.”

“We’ve crafted recommendations for sustainable campus planning, which should help both financially and economically,” says Trafecanty. “Our goal to minimize water bottle use on campus, for example, is a project with minimal up-front costs that will save money down the road.”

Critical goals include working with the Scripps community to ensure everyone’s ideas are heard and promoting sustainability plans to the broader 5-C community. To that end, the council hosted panel discussions and invited eco-conscious Morsoul, a Colorado-based band that tours the nation in a veggie-oil-powered bus, to perform on February 25. At the events, participants received information about biofuels and wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

“We’re planning to end the spring semester with a bang by having a Food Justice and Sustainability Awareness Fest in April,” says Trafecanty. “Although there is never enough time or volunteers, we feel we have accomplished a lot in just a semester-and-a-half.”

Notably, the College earned “A” grades for food and recycling and student involvement on its 2011 Green Report Card. Tom Adkins, director of dining services and a member of the Advisory Council, reports that Malott Commons’ new napkin holders helped reduce napkin usage by 25% in the fall 2010 semester. The napkins themselves are made from recycled products, which contain 100% recovered paper fiber and 40% post-consumer materials, meeting the Green Seal environmental standard for bleaching, de-inking, and packaging.

A small change can make a big difference, environmentally. The committee has also created a website that provides information about current sustainability efforts, the work of the Advisory Council, edible plants on campus, water, and electrical usage at the College, as well as other resources.

Above: A group of Scripps sustainability committee members and Morsoul band members gather by the band’s veggie-oil-powered bus in February in front of Balch Hall, prior to a musical and education event. From left, Morgan Mayer-Jochimsen ’13; Suzanne Zetterberg, director, Malott Commons; Amanda Hiatt ’13; Tamsen Burke, director, Tiernan Field House; Morsoul band crew Sharon Rose and Tiffany Grell; Professor Nancy Neiman Auerbach; Lola Trafecanty, director of grounds; and Jeremy Kurn from Morsoul.


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